A Day in My Life: Friday

Hello and welcome to my Bryn Mawr Blog. I’m Jacqueline, a psychology major from China. I will walk you through a typical Friday for me at Bryn Mawr College.

  • Morning Routine

I start the day with my morning routines: meditation and reading. Being able to start my day in a certain way, instead of responding to what’s happening in the news, allows me to start the day in a stable mood and gives me some sense of control over my life.

Then I will have breakfast while talking to my mom. She is back home in China so there’s a 12 hours time difference. The options to talk are either early in the morning or late at night. Since my mom goes to the gym in the morning before she goes to work, her morning would be too busy to talk. So, we talk when it’s morning for me and night for her.

  • Work Weekly Meeting

I work as a member of the Mawrter Made Media Team and we have weekly meetings to update on the program we now have and come up with new engaging content ideas.

  • Study at Library

If it was pre-COVID, I’d go to my carrel at Carpenter to study. Students can request a carrel at the beginning of each semester year and they are typically reserved for graduate students and undergraduate seniors. There’s some left so I got one. But in response to COVID-19, carrel space now is unavailable.

I’d usually stay in to study but today I decided to go study in the Lutnick library at Haverford. It’s been under construction for the last two years. The first and the only time I went in was when I visited in high school. Thus, today is the first time I stepped foot into this library since it reopened after construction.

I get a ride on the Blue Bus to Haverford. Blue bus is the most common way for Bi-Co students to transport between two campuses. On weekdays, the blue-bus runs every ten minutes on average. Check out the schedule here. Don’t forget to say “Thank you” to the bus drivers to express your gratitude for their hard work.

  • Reading

The assignment is to read a play for the class Fundamentals of Acting. As I mentioned before, I’m a psychology major and I have absolutely no experience in theater or anything related to acting before. But I chose to take it for two reasons: first, in a psychology writing class I took last semester, I read in the book If I Understood you, Would I Have This Look on My Face about how Alan Alda uses his acting experience, especially improv, to help scientists communicate effectively with their colleagues and also educate the science to the public. Another reason is that having an entire semester on zoom, I really need some interaction with people in real life.

  • Career and Civic Engagement Center Drop-In

I attend a drop-in session with a career peer at the Career and Civic Engagement Center. I need some help on the cover letter for the summer internship that I want to apply. Career Peers provide help about resume, cover letter, internship searching and etc. It used to be held in the Career and Civic Engagement Center on the second floor of Campus Center and now it’s available on Zoom.

  • Chill Outside

After some intense studying, I take a break by sitting outside. Today is one of these days in the spring that the sun reminds you that the spring is coming while the wind brings the winter back. Since COVID-19, I begin to appreciate small things that happen to me. For example, I feel grateful that I can sit on a bench and let the sun warms my soul.

I have some chocolate chips cookie I packed. I find dividing the dough evenly and shaping them to be too much work, so I just flatten the entire dough onto the baking sheet and break them into small pieces after they are done. They might not be aesthetically pleasing but they taste perfect.

  • Bi-Co Farmstand

I learnt about the Bi-Co Farmstand on a blog post about how stickers are designed and made at the Markerspace and I wanted to get some fresh produce from the Haverfarm. But by the time I got there, they were all sold out. I will probably try to get there earlier next week.

  • Evening Routine

I get back to Bryn Mawr campus on the Blue Bus and walked back to my apartment. I had dinner and chilled on the couch for a bit. I finished my day with an evening routine of reading and journal.

Thank you for reading. I will continue to share my life at Bryn Mawr with you.

How do I Reset in the Middle of the Semester?

Welcome back to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will share how I reset in the middle of the semester.

It’s now the fourth week of the semester (a semester has 14 weeks) and I begin to feel that it becomes harder to maintain the 12-8 schedule. I sometimes need to stay up late to finish reading or turn in an assignment on time, but staying up late disrupts the routines I’ve been doing. For example, after I work late in the evening, I might be too tired to do evening routine and just go straight to bed and what follows is that I might get up late, so I don’t have sufficient time to do the morning routine. From my experience, it is much harder to maintain a habit than to disrupt one. Thus, I need to take some self-care acts to reset my life to the point where I feel that I have some control over it.

The easiest and the most attractive choice is binge watching. I could lay in the couch and watch an entire season in one day. I often use it to distract me from overwhelming emotions or to take my mind off what I really need to do. But I realize that it’s not an effective way to reset: I feel more anxious afterwards. Despite how appealing it sounds, I try my best to avoid it.

Here are some self-care that actually work for me.

  • Walking on Campus

I have been walking on campus everyday in the final week last semester to take my mind off the work, but this habit didn’t last because it became too cold outside. As the spring comes, it has become warmer and I intend to resume my walking on campus. I usually start from Goodhart and go down and up the stairs to get to Park. I walk past the campus center and sit on the Carpenter Greens or Rhoads Beach for some sunset.

  • Talking to Friends

My friendship is quit unique. I don’t need or enjoy the company of friends to hang out or do stuff together. I like doing things completely based on my own preference. But I do sometimes need connection with friends. Thus, I could not talk to my friends for a month and pick up where we were when we last talked and then go on for hours.

  • Cooking and Baking

For sweet choices, I’d go with chocolate chips cookies and cinnamon rolls. Another rather uncommon choice is making seitan, a food made from gluten. It is made by first making a flour dough and washing the dough until all the starch is removed. It will end up to be a spongy piece of dough. The process of washing it is quite satisfying.

  • Spiritual Guidance

I believe that there’s something more to the mundane life. But I don’t follow any specific religion nor do I believe that an omnipotent god will save us all. I see the religious practice as a way to stay present and ultimately to better well-being. Some practices that I find useful include meditation, chanting, and affirmation. I mediate the first thing in the morning to begin my morning with a steady mood. I chant when I feel that my mind is going wild and can’t stop. I have my favorite affirmation as my screen saver so that I can see it every time I check my phone. I understand that my way may deviate from how they were intended to work but it works for me.

There are times in life when you are in perfect order but there are also times when things get out of hand. Things happen and it’s okay that you may feel a bit out of control or get off track sometimes. You accept what happened and work upon it. I offer some options that work for me and I hope that it will inspire you to take care of yourself too. Thanks for reading.

How I Organize My School Life

Welcome to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will share with you how I organize both my academic and extracurricular life at Bryn Mawr College.

I organize everything in one place and then review them on a daily or weekly basis. Having everything in one place allows me to keep track of everything and gives me a big picture. But working with a system with so many to-dos is overwhelming, so I divide them into small pieces and review them on a daily or weekly basis.


  • Table of Assignments and Reading

I manage all my assignments in a table in Notion. I have a master view of all the assignments from all five classes. I arrange them by the date they are due, with the most recent ones on top. After I I finish one task, I click the check box and it goes to the bottom. I also have individual view that I can see assignments from only one class. I also keep an extra column for notes, such as how many pomodoro I spent on this assignment.

  • Board of Application

Kanban board is an effective tool to keep track of a project with different stages and it’s perfect to manage things. It covers all applications I’m working on, including on-campus jobs, volunteer, and internships. I arrange them in the order of “Not Started”, “Applied”, “Denied”, and “Expired”. For those that are accepted, I have another page dedicated to them. Inside each individual page, I record information like “Application link”, “Deadline”, “Applied at”, and “Last Active Day”.

Daily Review

  • Daily Academic To-Do List and Study Log In

It’s a simple list of what readings and assignments I need to do in a day. I write them down in the evening so when I get up the next day, I know roughly what my day looks like and how much time I need to contribute to studying.

I have the habit of recording my study time before I start and after I finish. It has two effects. First, it functions as a reminder that I’m studying now. As I do most of the work on the laptop, I could get easily distracted. It also gives me a visual representation of how much I study in a week and I can adjust if needed.

Weekly Review

  • Reading and assignments due next week

I don’t have class on Friday so after I finish the last class on Thursday, I take about half an hour to go through all the readings and assignments for the next week. I download all the readings from Moodle and add them in the Notion table I mentioned above. Doing this activity gives me a rough idea about how much time I need to spend on reading and adjust my schedule accordingly.

  • Weekly Extracurricular To-Do List

It’s a weekly to-do list extracted from Board of Application and other academic stuff outside reading and assignment, such as sending email to invite an interview for a class project. I manage it on a weekly basis because it’s difficult to attend to them on a daily basis and reviewing also reminds myself of the upcoming deadlines.

In terms of ways to organize, it takes me a long time to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. When I was a freshmen, I kept everything on a notebook. Yes, I turned in all the assignments on time but I often found myself struggling at the last minute because I didn’t leave enough time for reading. Then I moved everything digital but it didn’t work out either because it takes me too long to get what I’m looking for and when I find it, I often forget what I was doing. I finally settled on this combination of a hand-written notebook and digital table and board.

The purpose of this post is simply to share how I organize my school life at Bryn Mawr and hopefully inspire you somehow. The last thing I want is to make you feel anxious because I find myself in that situation often. But I want to make it clear that this is not a “perfect” system. It’s just a system that works for me now. It might not be good to me somewhere in the future. And I stick to it most of the time but definitely not all the time, and it’s okay. Once I realize I’ve been off for some time, I simply accept it and try to get back on.

Daily Routine on a Typical School Day

Welcome back to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I want to share several routines that I go through on a typical school day at Bryn Mawr College. I began to establish my daily routine in the summer last year. I was spending almost all my time at home and felt that time flew and I was gradually losing control of my life. Having certain things done every single day gives me back some sense of control.

Morning Routine

The purpose of my morning routine is to start the day with a steady mood. Before I establish this morning routine, the first thing I used to do after I got up was that I checked my phone and watched some news, which often let down my mood and also let down my whole day. But I don’t want the news to determine how my day will be. I need to take back that control.

  • Mediate for one minute

Atomic Habits by James Clear is an excellent book on habits and it says that when you are starting a new habit, you need to set the bar low. It has to be so simple that you can’t find a reason not to do it. My new habit is to meditate every day and how I make it simple is to mediate for one minute.

  • Read one page

The principle behind reading one page is the same for mediating for one minute. I originally thought that it has to be something outside school but since the material is interesting and I have too much reading to do, it can be reading from one of the classes.

  • Talk to mom while having breakfast

This is the morning for academic semester. Since I anticipate that I have difficulty getting up, I set it to be extremely simple. The morning routine when I’m on break is a lot more complicated. Then I talk to mom and have breakfast. My mom is at home in China and we have 12 or 13 hours time difference, so we can either talk early in the morning or late at night. Talking at night, which means morning or noon on her side, depends on her work schedule. Since I don’t have early classes during the semester and I need one more motivation to get up early, I’d rather talk in the morning, which means evening for her.

Evening Routine

The purpose of the evening routine is to prepare my body and mind for getting to bed. Through doing certain things, I let my body know that whatever happened in the day happened but it’s now time to go to bed and prepare for the next day.

  • Finish studying at 10:30 or 11:00

My aim is to get to bed between 11:30 to 12:00 so I need some time for the transition.

  • Read one page

The purpose and principle is the same with the one in the morning.

  • Journal

I don’t do free-writing in the journal because it’s difficult for me to persist. I answer a few questions, such as “how effective was I today?”, “what am I grateful for today?”, “what do I need to let go of?”. Some other items that I might not attend to everyday are “the moment I showed resilience today” and “the moment I observed characteristics of a potential manager.”

  • Stickers

The book Atomic Habits also talks about having an immediate reward for completing a habit and the immediate reward I choose is stickers. Every time I finish mediating or reading, I put up a sticker and put it on the calendar and I feel pleased and satisfied. It works for kindergarten children and it works for me too.

Academic life at Bryn Mawr is demanding, which motivated me to choose it to spend four year of college, but it could also get challenging sometimes. Thus, I need these routines to get me in the condition where I’m both physically and mentally prepared for the rigorous study at Bryn Mawr.

Book Review: Intuitive Eating

Welcome back to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will review a book called Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works. This review was written a while ago but I didn’t publish it because I have been in a peaceful relationship with food lately. But as the semester starts, I have begun to feel some stress and anxiety and I find myself eating more than usual. I sometimes use eating to distract myself from overwhelming emotion or to justify that I’m not doing any productive work. I find this time appropriate to review this book and set a reminder for myself and for someone who faces similar issues with food.

Basic Info

The book was recommended by my favorite vegan youtuber Sadia from Pick Up Lime, whose vegan recipe videos feel like a massage for the eyes and souls. In addition, she was trained as a dietitian before becoming a youtuber.

How the book changed me?

Diet Doesn’t Work Because It Can’t Sustain

I’ve always been conscious about my weight and have been on several diets. Even though they don’t work for me, I still somehow believe that diets can work, at least for a specific group of people. But reading this book changes my mind that no diet would actually work because it can’t last. A diet can probably help you lose some weight but the weight you lose often comes back in the future, because how you eat when you are on a diet can’t last for a long time. A diet often restricts you from eating something and the fact of restraining makes you want to eat that particular food even more. For a diet to be actually effective, it has to last for a long time.

Last Supper Effect

It means that during the last meal before starting a diet, you are allowed to eat whatever you want to eat and thus you often eat more than you usually do because you’re afraid that you will never be able to eat that again. For some chronic dieters, they almost enjoy this part because they are entitled to eat anything.

I have similar experience, but not on eating. A membership of a grocery store is about to expire and I don’t want to renew it. So during the last weeks before it expires, I buy a lot more than I usually do because I worry that I might never be able to buy that again.

Attend to the Signals Your Body Send

We humans are born with an intuitive eating ability, but as we grow up, it’s been suppressed, especially by dieting. Dieting essentially trains you to ignore your body signals and stick to some rules that people other than yourself made. At the early stages, it might be difficult to notice the signals your body sends you so the book suggests that you pause in the middle of a meal or snack for a time-out and feel how your body reacts. I’m an unconscious eater, meaning that I watch some sitcoms while I eat. It’s difficult to pay attention to the signals my body sends me when I’m not mindful.


Exercise should be more about moving your body and feel how it feels, rather than calculating how much you burnt during the workout. I used to often fall into the It’s-Not-Worth-It Trap, meaning that it doesn’t count because time is too short for any real exercise. But over the long time, it all counts.


Nothing will change overnight, so be patient. Be present with your body and be aware of how it feels and responds. After all, it’s the process, not the end, that counts.